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- To be a Naturalist is better than to be a King.
- Journal (31 December 1893)
- The beauty and genius of a work of art may be reconceived, though its first material expression be destroyed; a vanished harmony may yet again inspire the composer; but when the last individual of a race of living beings breathes no more, another heaven and another earth must pass before such a one can be again.
- The Bird (1906)
- These descents of mine beneath the sea seemed to partake of a real cosmic character. First of all there was the complete and utter loneliness and isolation, a feeling wholly unlike the isolation felt when removed from fellow men by mere distance … . It was a loneliness more akin to a first venture upon the moon or Venus than that from a plane in mid-ocean or a stance on Mount Everest: no whit more wonderful than these feats, but different.
- Half Mile Down (1951), p. 148
- The isness of things is well worth studying; but it is their whyness that makes life worth living.
- As quoted in On Aggression by Konrad Lorenz (1963)
"These words should be ready for instant use by every honest scientist➖ 'I don't know.'